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Published: Monday, January 17, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 16, 2005 at 11:59 p.m.

WEATHER: Arctic air prompts freeze watches

  • An Arctic air mass covered much of Florida on Sunday, sending midday temperatures more than 20 degrees below normal in some areas and prompting forecasters to issue freeze advisories.
    Forecasters expected it to get even colder tonight and posted freeze watches for parts of North Florida, including the Gainesville area.
    Temperatures in much of the state dropped considerably Sunday, with the mercury bottoming out at 48 degrees at 1:23 p.m. in Orlando - 24 degrees lower than the average temperature for the date.
    Gainesville had afternoon temperatures of 46, about 20 degrees lower than normal.
    The National Weather Service issued a freeze watch for tonight over much of North Florida, with temperatures possibly dropping below 30 in the colder locations of Alachua County and surrounding counties.
    A gradual warming trend is to begin statewide on Tuesday.
    - The Associated Press

    POLICE BEAT: Men in hospital after Archer shooting

  • A late-night argument escalated into a shooting in Archer and put two men in the hospital with gunshot wounds, authorities said.
    But the Alachua County Sheriff's Office could not immediately determine who was at fault and which of the two men, or both, should be charged in the shooting, said Sgt. Steve Maynard of the Alachua County Sheriff's Office.
    Deputies found Keith Donnell Mathis, 30, lying in the road and shot in the chest at about 12:45 a.m. early Sunday. A 911 caller had alerted deputies to the 500 block of Railroad Lane in Archer.
    Before being taken to Shands at UF, Mathis described the car of Willie James Foster, 41. Deputies stopped Foster as he was fleeing east on Archer Road and found that he also had gunshot wounds.
    Both men were listed in stable condition Sunday afternoon, and both were being held on unrelated charges, Maynard said "The two parties intended to shoot each other," Maynard said of the incident where numerous shots were fired.
    Investigators still are trying to gather details about the shooting, he said.
    Detectives ask anyone with knowledge of the incident to call the Sheriff's Office or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 372-7867.
    - Douane D. James.

    POLICE BEAT: Ocala man dead after attack in rest stop

  • FLORENCE, S.C. - A 70-year-old Florida man who was pistol-whipped and beaten at an Interstate 95 rest area has died from a heart attack, authorities said.
    James Booras of Ocala died after the incident late Friday and his death has been ruled a homicide, Florence County Coroner M.G. ''Bubba'' Matthews said.
    Autopsy results confirmed Booras was struck across the face with a weapon which did not kill him, Matthews said. The men hitting and trying to rob him caused him to have the heart attack, he said.
    Booras and his wife, who were on their way to visit a daughter in New Jersey, pulled off the interstate between 11:30 p.m. and midnight Friday.
    Booras was assaulted by two men inside a bathroom, but he managed to tell his wife what happened before collapsing and dying, investigators said.
    ''Apparently, at some point they struck the victim so hard that the pistol broke,'' Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone said. ''They didn't actually steal anything from him, as everything was accounted for.''
    Police said the two men hopped into a car with two other men. The vehicle had a front vanity license tag inscribed with a phrase featuring the word ''Prayer.'' It was last seen traveling north toward Dillon County, witnesses told police. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the sheriff's office at 843-665-2121.
    - The Associated Press
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